The impacts of the new using a mobile driving penalties

Driving is a task that requires our undivided attention. Glancing down at your phone screen for just a couple of seconds doesn’t just risk your life, but also the lives of your passengers and other road users.

It could have potentially fatal consequences – so it’s really no wonder that using a mobile phone at the wheel is against the law.
Using a mobile phone while driving is a serious motoring offence that carries a fine and penalty points. Like other convictions, it can also cause your insurance premium to rise.

In this case, you can turn to the Insurance Factory to help find you competitively-priced convicted driver insurance that offers all the benefits of a standard insurance policy.

Stricter penalties for using a phone at the wheel

Stricter penalties for using a mobile phone while driving were introduced back in 2017 in a bid to prevent more people from committing the offence.
The penalties essentially doubled; points rose from three to six, while the fine increased from £100 to £200.

This means that new drivers (those who have passed their test within the last two years) will automatically lose their licence if they’re caught, as they only need to build up six points to have their licence revoked.
On top of these penalties, drivers can also receive three points if they don’t have full view of the road or traffic ahead due to a mobile device, or proper control of their car.

In some instances offenders can be taken to court, where they might be banned from driving or fined up to £1,000.
 A person texting on their mobile phone whilst driving

Are the stricter penalties working?

Worryingly, millions of drivers in the UK still admit to using their phones at the wheel, indicating that the harsher penalties might not be having the intended impact.
In 2018 RAC research cited by Sky News, almost half (47%) of motorists aged between 25 and 34 admitted to making or receiving calls while driving – an increase of 7% on 2017 figures.

Across all ages, 25% said that they’d used a phone at the wheel. That’s the equivalent to a staggering 10 million motorists.
Nearly one third (30%) of drivers aged 24 to 34 confessed to taking photos, videos or selfies while driving, which is almost double the average across all age groups (16%).
Department for Transport figures show that using a phone at the wheel was a contributing factor to accidents in which 43 people died and 135 were seriously injured in Britain during 2017.

What’s going to happen?

Understandably, there have been calls for tougher penalties for drivers who use their phones at the wheel, particularly as it seems that people are falling back into old (and bad) habits.
A group of cross-party MPs which make up the Commons Transport Select Committee recently submitted a report calling on the government to increase penalties “to better reflect the serious risk created by drivers committing this offence.”
As BBC News explains, the ‘Road safety: driving while using a mobile phone’ report also urged the government to consider a ban on the use of hands-free devices. An expert told the committee that accepting a hands-free call caused “essentially the same” level of distraction as driving while at the legal drink-drive limit for England and Wales.
Joshua Harris, from road safety charity Brake, said using hands-free “can impair a driver in the same way as a hand-held device and so it makes sense that the law treats these acts equally.”
The group of MPs said in the report that a public consultation should be published by the end of this year.
 A young woman on her phone whilst driving a car

So, what exactly is the law on mobile phone use?

You know that it’s illegal to make or receive calls when you’re in control of a car, but what if you’re parked up? Or if you’re stopped at traffic lights?

Making sure you know all of the rules when it comes to using a mobile phone will help you to stay on the right side of the law and avoid fines, penalties and potential bans.
As the Gov.UK website states, it’s illegal to use or even hold a mobile phone or sat nav while driving or riding a motorbike.

Currently, you must have hands-free access via voice command and a dashboard holder, windscreen mount, Bluetooth headset or built-in sat nav. If you’re using a holder for your phone, then it mustn’t obstruct your view of the road and traffic ahead.
The law applies even when you’re stopped at traffic lights or queueing in traffic. You can’t use a phone if you’re supervising a learner driver, either.
When using your device hands-free, you need to be in full control of your car at all times. You can be stopped by the police if they believe you’re distracted and not in control, and there’s a chance you could be prosecuted.
There are only two instances where you can use a mobile phone while in the driver’s seat, the first of which being when you’re safely and legally parked with your handbrake on.

The second instance is when you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s either unsafe or impractical to stop.

Convicted driver insurance from the Insurance Factory

If you’re looking to get back on the road after a motoring offence or driving conviction, let the specialists at the Insurance Factory help you.
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